Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt- Preparations for Israel-

Grandma Mary came into town a few days ago in order to help me before Dave and I take off on our grand Adventure to Israel.  She was able to come with us to our church Easter egg hunt this morning!
One of the games was "roll the stone away from the tomb" on Resurrection Sunday-  It's pretty surreal that Dave and I will hopefully be attending Easter sunrise service at the Garden Tomb!
 Justin waited patiently in line for 20 minutes before getting a turn.  He had so much fun that I think we might need to find one of these little inflatables for a birthday party in the future!
 After decorating bags and working through the different Easter activity stations, it was time to HUNT eggs.  Unfortunately, I got no photos of the hunt itself, as there were 215 children hunting in a controlled chaos!  The kids had fun, though, and are all ready to do some fun Easter crafts with Grandma Mary this week.  Papa Bob will be flying in for Easter proper and the kids will get to spend some great time with family during the next few weeks.
Alex is all set to care for the bunnies all on her own every day, Kolachi is safely deposited at her herding instructor's ranch for two weeks of boarding and training, Percy is ready to receive some quality one-on-one time with his kids and Dave and I depart tomorrow (along with Brad) for Holy Week in the Holy Land-  a very exciting time for all of us! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois

So, last week I reported that Alex was thinking about trying out public school next year.  That notion has now passed.  Once she realized that there are SIX classes of second graders in the local school, she also realized that the chances of being in class with her best neighbor friend were not great.  We talked about what she wanted from the public school, she determined that she wanted "Spanish" and "to go to school from 9-4pm all day."    We compromised by ordering a new Math, history and Spanish curriculum that we're starting immediately (we're pretty much through 1st grade work, so this lends itself perfectly for a new school year).  The first day of Spanish lessons were really fun. 
 I remember a LOT more Spanish from high school than I thought I did.  The curriculum is from Charlotte Mason theory, and focuses on teaching through language use and copywork.  Our first lesson was "Take the book, open the book, close the book".  Then we went through the same sentence formation for the words wallet and notebook. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mr. Puff visits

"Mr. Puff" (formally known as Odin) came to visit for the weekend with his Mama, Auntie Rorie.  Alex, Justin and Kolachi all had so much fun visiting with our little furry friend.  He is such a calm and collected young cat that Kolachi can totally hang out without resorting to the "chasing game".  She tends to want to play with him by rolling him over with her nose, and he just lays there and lets her.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dreaming of High Tea

It's just spring-like enough to start dreaming of all our summer 'must-dos'.  High Tea at Naniboujou Lodge is definitely on the list (we're headed back up the North Shore in early summer).  We decided to have a fancy tea today (using my wedding china for the first time in about seven years) in honor of one of our favorite vacation memories

Cream cheese sandwiches, stuffed dates wrapped with ham, cucumber and tuna salad crackers, apricots and fig bars made for a nice teatime spread.

But the BEST part is mixing as much milk and sugar in your tea as Mama lets you! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Geometry 101

Alex has really been rallying to 'try' the public school down the street for second grade.  I think we're going to let her enroll in the fall-- just so she has an idea of what it is like.  It's only fair to let her sample it.  (Of course, I'm secretly hoping that she will want to continue to homeschool, but being that she is such a self-motivated learner, she'll most likely do well wherever she is).  

So-- I grabbed a Houghton Mifflin 1st grade textbook to make sure that we are covering everything that the public school is-- and decided to jump into geometry lessons.  Such fun to combine art and math!
 We learned how to count points, sides/edges and faces and then how to draw the 3-D shapes.

 Even Justin got in on the fun-- he focused on which shapes could roll, slide and stack.  It's pretty amazing what he could pick up just by listening in on her lesson!
 Then there's this guy.  I'm not sure he's ever going to grasp the concept.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Art Institute visit

We started off the day with a puppet play- "The Biggest Little House in the Forest" at the Children's Theater Company.  Alex and I were excited to don our puppet socks, but Justin refused.  Too silly, apparently?
 Waiting in the lobby for the performance-- it was a one-woman puppet show in the side theater, which I'd never been to.  Very nice!  Recommended for little ones (Alex was a tad old, but she was a good sport as bubbles and feathers flew around her)
 As we often do, we hit the Art Institute afterwards.  This time I zeroed in on a fantastic painting-- I haven't updated with Kolachi's herding progress, but we've been taking weekly lessons, and someday, when it's warm enough to have Alex out taking photos, we'll get you up to date!
 Justin really likes this puppy--
 But the hit of the day was a digital installation that looked like "floating moon rocks covered with paint and gum" (per Alex).  This was the perfect spot to relax and kick back for a few minutes.
 In fact, these guys enjoyed it for about 10 minutes!  You can tell they get very limited screen time!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spring Snow Kitchen

Justin was so sad that he missed an adventure yesterday that we planned a whole new one for today.  This time we hit the "mosquito path", an unmarked trail not too far from our house.  The sun was shining again, and we didn't hike too far because we discovered such a fun playground in the woods--

Vines to swing on--
 Balance Beams for walking and teetering!
 Even Kolachi got in on some agility action/practice.  She also got to wear her own backpack today and pack in her own water supply-
 The kids spent a long time playing snow kitchen/house-- so I had some time to just relax and soak in all this beauty!
 Mmmm... snow biscuits, anyone?  Kolachi sure enjoyed them
 Yep.  Doesn't everyone's minivan look like this at the end of a nature walk.  We brought the 'stove' and three 'platters' home to live in our backyard.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Muskrat Lodge discovery!

We dropped Justin off at school today and set out to enjoy the 40 degree weather with a nice nature hike.  We hadn't been to Sunfish Lake Park in a long while, and we enjoyed it so much.

Alex and Kolachi discovered a muskrat lodge!  We looked around for tracks, but didn't find any obvious ones.

The sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue!

The cross-country ski trails here are nicely groomed.  We tried to keep off the tracks themselves, but one can't always control where German Shepherd feet end up.  Oops!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Getting Fit- with two kids :-)

I feel so blessed that I stumbled across an article on Amanda Riley's Baby Body Balance gym a few months ago.  I've been looking to get back into working out, but my barrier has been what to do with my kiddos.  Alex is way too old to be entertained in a kid's area, Justin doesn't really want to go to one either and while it worked for me a few years ago when I needed to be ready to trek to EBC, the setup just doesn't sit well with me anymore.  Enter Amanda's AMAZING, kid-friendly Woodbury gym.  Alex and I work out three times a week while Justin is at preschool.  Half the time, she just reads on a balance ball, but today she got into it!  Justin was actually with us as well (you can see him rolled in a yoga mat burrito at the front of the shot), and Amanda is so good at working with (or around) children.  It's a dream come true to be able to do this and involve my kids!  So much better than plopping them in front of a screen in a kid's club while I get to exercise!

(as a sidenote, she trains people of all makes and models-- not just Mamas!)

Space Explorers

We headed to the Science Museum this morning to check out the new Space exhibit.  We got there right as they opened, so had the place to ourselves for a good 20 minutes....which is when the middle school field trips came FLOODING in.  Sigh.....  at least we had a head start!

As part of the exhibit, the SMM has installed a giant, three-story high astronaut in the stairwell!  You can't really tell from this shot, but the visor is actually a screen that you can project a recording of your own face on.  Justin got to be a three-story high space explorer!
 The Space exhibit is a special, traveling exhibit, so it of course costs a bit extra.  Because we are members, we get a discount, but I'd say it was still $10/person well spent.  Alex was fascinated with all the space memorabilia--
 A helmet from the Apollo program and Neil Armstrong's gloves!
 Besides the memorabilia, they had a really nice mock up of a room/bay of the International Space Station that actually rotated around you so you had a little feel of what being weightless would be like.  They also had a great display of the daily operations things that we don't ever think about-- food prep, bathroom issues, etc.  We operated a robotic arm to complete some experiments in 'space' and pushed every button available.  Definitely worth checking out!  The sci-fi type video of our future in space exploration at the end was pretty amazing as well.
 We wandered around the galleries (that the schools were NOT in) and came across Alex's favorite chromatography experiment.  Justin was finally old enough to kind of understand what was happening.  The volunteer commented to me that he was an AMAZING direction follower for a 4 year old.  I have to agree.

After we quickly saw the dinosaurs, we opted for lunch before escaping the crowded halls.  Who knew that Thursday was school day?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Snow Day!

The meterologists predicted a big storm for this morning, so we cancelled herding class and stayed at home to play.  Kolachi's favorite game is 'catch the snow'...Alex was only too happy to play it with her.

 Eating the snow out of hands is fun, too....
 Our only snowman of the season.  We just haven't gotten enough of the sticky wet stuff--  he's pretty small, but makes up for it with loads of character.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream

What a dream to be able to bring my girl to the the-a-tah!  We had such a great time-  she was glued to the stage the entire time.  Our prep work was solid, and she not only understood what was going on but was able to anticipate coming scenes.  Her two favorite characters were Puck and Nick Bottom, they were phenomenal!  The biggest surprise was that the director chose to make some soliloquies songs, and the entire production was very dance-oriented, which, of course, only adds to the entire experience.
Four thumbs up for The Guthrie!  (Oh-- and she came home and promptly re-named one of her stuffed rabbits to "Shakespeare", so I think four thumbs up for The Bard himself as well)